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Environmental Sustainability at Work

10/31/2012-

by Stephany Shings Below, SIOP Communications Manager

Environmental Sustainability at Work

8th Leading Edge Consortium a Success, Features Virtual Attendees Across the Country

The 2012 Leading Edge Consortium (LEC), “Environmental Sustainability at Work: Advancing Research, Enhancing Practice,” brought out some of the best and brightest in the field of environmental sustainability October 19 and 20 at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, Louisiana!

Chaired by Sara Weiner, with Science Co-Chairs Stephan Dilchert and Deniz Ones, and Practice Chair Mark Schmit, the 2012 LEC was a weekend full of excellent speakers, informative presentations, and numerous opportunities to participate in the discussion of advancing and developing environmental sustainability practices in the workplace.

Attendees heard from 11 speakers on topics including creating sustainable effective organizations, the state of HR practice in sustainability, employee green behaviors, sustainable cultures, global sustainability, leveraging HR practices to drive environmental sustainability efforts at PepsiCo, environmental sustainability and employee engagement at 3M, creating and growing a culture of sustainability, staffing for environmental sustainability, the O*NET program’s view on green occupations, why and how to include environmental sustainability in I-O practice, and embedding sustainability in mainstream companies. Attendees and presenters came from across the United States and the world, with some traveling from as far as Germany and France to attend the event.

This year, in light of the sustainability theme, SIOP also held its first ever virtual forums. The virtual forums brought together nearly 100 attendees at 11 sites throughout the United States and Canada who watched a live video feed of Friday’s presentations. Virtual attendees participated in the program via social media, posting questions to speakers via Twitter and email, which were then relayed to the presenters live during question-and-answer sessions.

The LEC kicked off with a keynote address titled Creating Sustainable Effective Organizations: Management Reset Needed by Edward Lawler, Distinguished Professor of Business at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and founder and director of the University's Center for Effective Organizations (CEO).

During his presentation, Lawler noted that organizations operate with different goals today than they did in the past. Organizations today need to operate in ways that lead to both agility and responsible behavior, he explained. As the world changes, companies need to be able to adapt quickly to those changes.

"There is no such thing as a sustainable competitive advantage,” he said, also noting that companies must be environmentally and socially responsible as they adapt.

“Legislation adds more complexity that could have been avoided if organizations had been more responsible to begin with,” he noted.

The program also included a “Company Insights Module,” which featured three presentations—Global Sustainability, Global Responsibility; Leveraging HR Practices to Drive Environmental Sustainability Efforts at PepsiCo; and Sustaining our Future: Environmental Sustainability and Employee Engagement at 3M—that described practice insights into how I-O psychologists can play a role in shaping environmentally sustainable organizations. Practices for successfully embedding environmental sustainability throughout organizations were also discussed.

At the end of Friday, before breaking into small groups to enjoy the popular “Networking Dinners” at a choice of four New Orleans restaurants Friday night, attendees also enjoyed a beautiful reception in the Royal ballroom of the hotel.

For the networking dinners, attendees dined at area restaurants to discuss the day’s events with old and new friends while they got a taste of the famous New Orleans cuisine.

Other presentations included a lunchtime speaker Friday, Marie Puybaraud, Director of Global Workplace Innovation at Johnson Controls, who traveled all the way from France to present “Sustainable Cultures: Creating Greener Workplaces for All!” and the “Environmental Sustainability Consulting” sessions Saturday, which included “Going After the Green: Why and How to Include Environmental Sustainability in I-O Practice” by John Muros, Senior HR Consultant, AT&T and “Embedding Sustainability in Mainstream Companies,” by Anna Clark, President of EarthPeople, a sustainability communications firm.

After thanking the LEC chair and cochairs and presenting them with tokens of appreciation, SIOP President Doug Reynolds announced that next year’s event will be held October 18-19 in Richmond, Virginia, at the Richmond Omni. The theme of that event will be talent management.

We hope to see you next year in Richmond!